FLASHBACK – The Hurricanes and Crusaders playing a pre-season Super Rugby match at Mangatainoka. PHOTO/FILE

Hurricanes-Blues pre-season match has Mangatainoka humming

RUGBY

Mangatainoka is humming with the news that the little township will once again host a pre-season Super Rugby match, this time featuring arch-rivals ‘local side’, the Hurricanes taking on the Blues.

It’s certainly been a long time between drinks for rugby fans in the town as the last pre-season Super Rugby match played there was in 2013.

But come February 9, all that will change, when a farmer’s paddock will once again be transformed into a top-notch pitch ready to host the Battle at the Brewery.

The match on February 9 will have the welcome return of the two popular teams to the township – population 1560 [Census 2013] – which hosted pre-season matches from 2010-2013.

The Hurricanes played the Blues in Mangatainoka in 2010, the Chiefs in 2011 and 2013 and the Crusaders in 2012.

The community are eagerly looking forward to next year’s event. Many have already have offered to lend a hand to ensure the welcome mat is laid out for all visitors.

For one of the town’s most familiar faces, the return of the epic clash is especially meaningful.

Nick Rogers, who runs the visitor experience at Tui Brewery, originally came up with the idea to turn a paddock into a rugby pitch and remembers how everyone thought he was mad.

“I had this idea to bring the Hurricanes to Mangatainoka back in 2010.

“At the time, it raised a few eyebrows and people had a wee chuckle but pretty quickly they realised I was serious.

“Within weeks we had a team of terrific volunteers that helped make that first game possible,” Rogers said.

“Despite the rain and mud, it delivered an incredible game of rugby with the late Sir Colin Meads, Sir Brian Lochore and the great commentator Keith Quinn among the 8000-strong crowd.

“It reinforced how important it is to have top-level rugby players connect with their rural communities and inspire our youngsters.

“After games in Masterton and Eketahuna in 2014 and 2015, and a rest the past two years, people are itching for the game to come back to Mangatainoka.

“I for one am so, so excited that Tui Brewery is bringing this match back to Mangatainoka in 2019.”

Dane Coles, captain of the Hurricanes, says the team is really keen to head back to the farm for the game.

“I know the whole squad are looking forward to heading back to Mangatainoka, especially the boys who have not experienced playing there before.”

“It really is a unique day and the team gets really well looked after by all the locals,” Coles said.

Tickets for the game at the Mangatainoka RFC on Kerry Fergus’ farm went on sale yesterday and the community is rallying to host a predicted 5000 visitors.

Organisers have reduced ticket numbers to create a more intimate atmosphere at the game, and they are expected to sell out quickly.

There will be enough temporary seating to accommodate all ticket-holders, pre- and post-game entertainment, and passionate fans turning out in their regional colours.

There will also be prizes up for grabs for fans who go above and beyond with their fancy dress.

Rogers says news of the Battle at the Brewery has spread quickly through town and already the community is knocking on the doors of the brewery wanting to help put on an epic and memorable day for sport fans.

Tui has teamed up with key match day supporters to make the day possible including Big Barrel, More FM, Norwood, PGG Wrightson, Printcraft and Steens Honey, as well as Panasonic as Half Time Supporter, who will give some lucky fans the chance to kick for goal and win a 43” smart television.

Battle at the Brewery

When: Saturday, February 9, 2019

Where: Mangatainoka

Time: Gates open 12.30pm
Kick-off 3pm.

Cost: Prices $45 general admission [GA] before Christmas.
$50 GA after Christmas.
$140 Corporate – VIP.
$80 Supporters pack [includes a Tui cap, T-shirt and GA ticket].
$20 child.

All tickets are available from www.tuihq.co.nz or at Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka. GA tickets are available from PGG Wrightson and Norwood Farm Machinery Stores.

Once you’ve purchased your tickets, enter the draw to be part of the half-time entertainment and go into the chance to win a Panasonic 43” 4K Ultra High Definition Smart TV.

For bus or train ticket deals – please visit www.tranzit.co.nz or www.mainlinesteam.co.nz